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DISPENSING WITH UNNECESSARY RENEWALS OF OATHS
May 20, 1937.- Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. MILLER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 6295)
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6295) to dispense with unnecessary renewals of oaths of office by civilian employees of the executive departments and independent establishments, after consideration, report the same favorably to the House with the recommendation that the bill do pass.
Whenever there is a change in the status of a civil employee of the Government (other than employees of the Department of Agriculture and Veterans' Administration) the employee must take a new oath of office even though his service in the department in which he is employed be continuous.
Èxamples of a change in status requiring a new oath of office are
(a) Promotion to a higher grade in the same office office being used in a general sense to differentiate between the numerous branches or divisions of a department or establishment).
(6) Demotion to a lower grade in the same office.
(c) Shifting from one office to another in the same department or establishment and in the same or a different grade.
(d) Transfer from one appropriation roll to another in the same office.
(e) Transfer from field work to departmental work or vice versa in the same or a different grade.
The bill here reported dispenses with the requirement that the oath of office be renewed because of a change in status where the service of the employee in the department or establishment in which he is employed is continuous, unless, in the opinion of the head of the department or establishment, the public interests require such renewal.
Employees of the Department of Agriculture and Veterans Administration are already excepted by specific acts of Congress from this requirement (43 Stat. 803, 44 Stat. 919). It is not perceived why there is any valid ground for an exemption to employees of these two agencies of the Government which does not apply with equal force to other agencies.
The constant renewing of oaths increases the administrative burden of the Departments, and takes a toll of the employee's time from his duties to the Government, particularly in the field services where in many instances the employee must travel a considerable distance to reach an officer empowered to take oaths.
The Comptroller General stated in his annual report for 1931:
The administering of the oath to the majority of Federal personnel on each change of duty is burdensome and relatively costly when the total loss of time consumed is considered. No reason is seen for the statutory exceptions in this respect of the personnel of the Department of Agriculture and part of that of the Veterans' Administration that would not equally apply to the remainder of civil Federal personnel of the departments and establishments and their field services.
The original oath to which the employee subscribes when he enters the service will follow him through all his subsequent changes in status while his service is continuous. The committee sees no reason why ihe binding force of the original oath upon the employee's conscience would be less, or the dignity and solemnity of the oath be detracted from because frequent and unnecessary repetition is dispensed with.
This proposed legislation was recommended by the Treasury Department. That Department advises that as the bill was originally drafted it applied only to employees of the Treasury Department, but that it was broadened to include all civilian employees of the Government on the recommendation of the Bureau of the Budget.
Bills identical with this one have heretofore passed both the House and the Senate in different Congresses. The bill was favorably reported by the House Judiciary Committee in the Seventieth Congress (H. R. 45, 70th Cong.). It was favorably reported again in the Seventy-first Congress (H. R. 5277, 71st Cong.), and passed the House January 20, 1930 (72 Congressional Record 1987). It died in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the Seventy-first Congress adjourned. In the last Congress, the bill passed the Senate June 1, 1936 (80 Congressional Record 8426, S. 4519). The companion House bill, H. R. 12219, was favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee but failed to pass the House.
The communication from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, dated March 31, 1937, recommending the enactment of this proposed legislation follows:
Washington, March 31, 1937. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Sir: There is transmitted herewith a proposed bill designed to dispense with unnecessary renewals of oaths of office by civilian employees of executive departments and independent establishments. . As originally drafted, this proposed bill applied only to employees of the Treasury Department, but on the recommendation of the Bureau of the Budget it was revised and extended to cover ali executive departments and independent establishments.
Section 1757 of the Revised Statutes operates to require employees of the Federal Government (with certain exceptions) to subscribe to new oaths of office upon any change in status, such as promotion to a higher or demotion to a lower grade, or transfer to another office. A great number of the personnel of the executive departments and independent establishments is located at some distance from the central building where the oath of office is administered, and since instances requiring new oaths are numerous, there is frequently considerable delay
in completing a change of grade or employment with resultant loss to the Government of the employee's services for the time taken from his duties. Especially is this true in the field service, where employees in remote offices must travel a considerable distance to take the oath before & notary public.
It is believed that none of the benefits and protection provided by section 1757 of the Revised Statutes will be lost by dispensing with renewals of the oath of office where the services of employees concerned are continuous. However, out of abundant caution provision is made in the bill for renewals of oaths when in the opinion of the head of the particular executive department or independent establishment the public interests so require. It has been ascertained from the several departments concerned that this legislation is desirable insofar as it affects civilian employees.
Section 3 of the act of January 31, 1925 (43 Stat. 803), and section 3 of the act of December 11, 1926 (44 Stat. 919), provided similar limitations to the operation of section 1757, Revised Statutes, for employees of the Department of Agriculture and the Veterans' Administration, respectively.
It is requested that you lay this bill before the House of Representatives. For your information, an identical bill, S. 4519, was passed by the Senate pear the close of the second session of the Seventy-fourth Congress. Its companion bill, H. R. 12219, was reported favorably by the House Committee on the Judiciary. This lcgislation is in accord with the program of the President. Very truly yours,
WAYNE C. TAYLOR, Acting Secretary of the Treasury. O
ADDITIONAL JUDGE FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT
May 20, 1937.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of
the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. CELLER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 2708]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2708) to provide for the appointment of one additional United States district judge for the southern district of Texas, after consideration, report the same favorably to the House with the recommendation that the bill do pass.
The report of the October 1936 session of the judicial conference contains the following:
After reviewing the condition of work in the various districts, the conference at the present session recommended the following additional district judgeships should be provided: * One additional district judge for the Southern district of Texas.
The bill which is here reported carries out this recommendation of the judicial conference.
The southern district of Texas now has only one judge.
This district spreads a distance of nearly 500 miles over 43 counties, divided into 6 divisions, lying along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican border. It includes within its boundaries such cities as Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville and Laredo. Its geographical position, embracing both a long and busy coast line and a section of a foreign border, and the extent and diversity of its industries, manufacturing, shipping, and agriculture, combine to swell the volume of litigation in the court.
Much aid has to be sought from outside judges to take care of the business of the court. The committee is advised that as many as eight such judges were designated to sit in the southern district last year. During the fiscal year 1936 the couri terminated 1,076 criminal cases and had 222 cases pending at the end of the year. It disposed
8. Repts., 75–1, vol. 2-32